Art, Art History and Design, School of


Date of this Version



Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska

In Partial fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Fine Arts

Major: Art

Under the Supervision of Professor N. Keith Jacobshagen


This thesis exhibition consists of a series of urban landscape paintings. These paintings attempt to explore the issues of transition and flux within the modern environment on the edge of Lincoln as the city expands into rural areas. The paintings were all executed in acrylic and comprise a broad range of sizes on both hardboard and wooden panels. The process by which they were conceived was an evolutionary one that began with the analysis of a specific site that is not far from my home and which I see on a daily basis. Initially, the most engaging aspect of this landscape transition was the simultaneous existence of two motifs. One of these motifs consisted of the stable, anchoring objects commonly associated with the Midwestern landscape such as the grain elevators. The other consisted of modern construction such as newly built hotels, food stores, an automated car wash, and incandescent street lights. Both of these motifs existed within the same couple of square miles. The relationship between new and old, the tension between the stable and unstable, was the initial means of exploring this transition and flux. As my analysis continued, several sources were utilized to assist in the creation of these paintings. Photographs, on-site pencil sketches, and memory were used. The idea of transition remained the principal concept, although the aesthetic emphasis shifted from the relationships between the structures to the large debris-filled earth piles beginning to form around the construction sites. This shift significantly impacted the paintings by broadening and simplifying the compositions . The large earth piles, with their construction detritus protruding from them, seemed to serve the purpose of depicting the forceful reshaping of the land while allowing for a more expressive and improvisational handling of the subject. Though it is a subject which represents to some extent a despoiling of the land, it simultaneously presents to the artist a challenging and beautiful motif .